As dealers get ready to receive customers full of New Year resolution, interest for the Lincoln MKC is growing. In the first part of this blog post, we took a tour of the vehicle’s bold exterior and walked away with the impression that the bar had been raised for quality and attention to detail, for Lincoln’s crossover line-up as much as the luxury crossover segment at large. Today, we will step inside and review its interior design as well as its technological content.
In the lap of luxury
Before you even step inside the MKC, you might be surprised by something you have never seen before: Approach Detection system. Upon detecting the signal of the keyfob, the MKC will illuminate its door handles, and softly light up its headlights and tail lights to create a safe zone around the vehicle. But, more than that, lamps located underneath the rear view mirrors will create a glowing welcome mat at your feet. Displayed on both sides and shaped like, as well as featuring the Lincoln logo, they are truly an invitation to come aboard.
And for those you may have forgotten their keys inside (or chosen to leave the key docked inside the car), Lincoln’s signature SecuriCode keyless entry keypad will provide access to the MKC thanks to a secret PIN number. Back in the days, the brand’s keyless entry keypad was actually added to the door, above the handle, and required a physical rubber-keyed pad. Since the release of SecuriCode in 2008 on the Lincoln MKS, the keypad is integrated into the B-pillar under a glass-like material and responds to the touch of a finger.
Once inside, a choice of upholsteries is offered: on base Premiere MKCs, the seats are done in Lincoln Luxury Soft Touch material which is a new synthetic leather that is easy to take care of as well as, well, man-made for customers who do not fancy animal materials. From the Select trim level up, Lincoln provides high-quality perforated “Deep Soft” Bridge of Weir leather hand-sewn in an eco-friendly facility in Scotland: this very particular, chromium-free, leather comes from a century-old company that also provides Aston Martin, Jaguar and British Airways with their upholteries. First introduced in 2008 with the Lincoln MKS, it has been used across the line and is now a staple of Lincoln luxury.
Interestingly enough, the upgraded steering wheel found on Select and Reserve models will be trimmed in Wollsdorf leather, which is sourced from Austria but does follow the same environmental guidelines as Bridge of Weir. Speaking of steering wheels they are thickly padded and adopt the new Lincoln corporate look; they also house redundant MyLincoln Touch controls.
The overall design of the instrument panel follows the general lay-out first introduced in the 2012 MKZ Concept and reprised since: a large infotainment console with lines flowing to the sides and down between the seats, recreating the “open wings” motif of the front grille. As will all new Lincolns, the replacement of the traditional shifter with a push-button gear selector located on the instrument panel creates a whole different perception for the driver and allows for an open and airy environment.
The biggest particularity here though, compared to the MKZ sedan, is the treatment of the center console. While the midsize car has been given a flowing and floating console equipped with many storage compartments, the MKC has been given a more traditional two-tier console. Indeed, due to the crossover’s higher and more upright driving position, controls are located higher on the instrument panel, making it impossible to have a traditional center console, even without the shifter. Still, the space between the instrument panel and the center console provides the driver and passenger with more knee space and still some storage compartments and the presence of a large armrest also matches the usual driving position found in crossovers.
The cabin is trimmed all around in leather, on parts of the instrument panel, door panels and center console. Stitching matches the motif found on the seats, blending curves and straight lines that join, for instance, with the design of the door handle housing and that of the window switches. Aluminum trim highlights the infotainment center as well the door panels, but remains very subtle and helps highlight other features such as genuine wood accents. Following a trend started by Audi and Italian automakers, wood accents are available with a matte, sanded finish in addition to a more traditional varnished look. Either way, wood grain is thick and does not look like plastic!
Another particularity of the MKC, and one which may find its way on the next new Lincolns, is the return of physical controls for infotainment and above all climate control. Indeed, the touch-sensitive sliders and buttons available on the MKZ sedan seem to have taken most reviewers and customers aback; first introduced at Lincoln in 2011 on the redesigned MKX crossover, but more and more common throughout the industry and also prominently featured in Cadillacs they appear to be the way of the future . Maybe was Lincoln ahead of the game? There is no doubt that in a few years buyers used to smartphones and tablets will be more familiar with that kind of controls. It’s worth nothing that both the MKC Concept and early spy shots of the production vehicle still featured sliders and invisible switches akin to those of the MKZ sedan; surely Lincoln listened to the complaints that been coming in in the past two model year or so.
Still, it seems Lincoln engineers managed to find the best of both worlds: the console features only a few well laid-out push-buttons, the more particular functions still being available through the touch screen interface, and does not feel overcrowded, unlike many of its competitors (especially Acura). Two large and snazzy looking dials finished in chrome and glass-like materials spruce up the dash.
The infotainment system is for its part now well established and liked: MyLincoln Touch controls navigation, phone integration, music and radio as well as climate control through four easily identified and color-coded windows on the large 8-inch touch screen. Each sub-system can be accessed and configured from on-screen controls but also from the redundant keypads on the steering wheel, and all interact with the configurable gauge cluster located between the analog speedometer and tachometer. This interactive display, first introduced on the 2010 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is now available to gas-powered vehicles as well and offers an array of settings that still prove more user-friendly than the CUE system recently made available on the Cadillac SRX crossover.
Finally, another trademark Lincoln feature returns: a THX II-certified high fidelity audio system is available, and while its power has not been revealed by Lincoln the same system equips the 2013+ MKZ sedan, in which it packs 700 Watts delivered through a 14-speaker arrangement. That’s a full hundred more watts than the THX I system that still is available on other model lines, and Lincoln remains the only automaker boasting THX certification on its system. Models equipped with this system will be easily identified by the large sub-woofer speaker located on top of the dash and adorned with the famous THX logo.
The easy-to-live-with luxury vehicle
Overall, it appears that Lincoln has been upping the ante with the MKC, in terms of interior luxury as much as usability. While design, fit and finish were already taken further by the 2013 MKZ, it seems that the dedicated Lincoln design studio has been able to load this new crossover with even better materials, color combinations and equipment. And that’s even before we get all the details on the very exclusive Black Label edition that will be joining the line-up in the coming months. No doubt that these improvements will be fully integrated in the design of the next MKS, MKX and Navigators to be released in the next few model years.
Lincoln also manages to embrace the needs of the luxury crossover buyer: it’s comfortable, distinctive, packed with technology but also easy to live with thanks to a traditional interior lay-out, accessible electronics and a good amount of personalization.
In the next part of this blog post, we’ll finish our round-up of the new 2015 Lincoln MKC crossover with its powertrain, including its technological features, and a look at the competition both foreign and domestic. In such a disputed segment, will the MKC find its place?
- 2015 Lincoln MKC: The Well-Heeled Contender, part 1 (themarkonline.wordpress.com)
- 2015 Lincoln MKC pricing announced (themarkonline.wordpress.com)
- Media round-up: Lincoln MKC revealed to enthusiastic reviews (themarkonline.wordpress.com)
- 2015 Lincoln MKC revealed (themarkonline.wordpress.com)